Assam Congress MLA Ajanta Neog removed from key post

Assam Congress MLA Ajanta Neog removed from key post; likely to join BJP

The move came amid speculations that the four-time MLA from Golaghat constituency and former state minister may join the BJP

MLA Ajanta Neog. Credit: Twitter/@AjantaNeog

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee has removed its MLA Ajanta Neog from an important post of the party's organisation, two days after she met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and North-East Democratic Alliance convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The move came amid speculations that the four-time MLA from Golaghat constituency and former state minister may join the BJP.

Neog was removed from the post of District Congress Committee President of Golaghat with immediate effect, according to an order issued by the party's state unit on Friday night.

"This has the approval of All India Congress Committee," the two-line order said without giving any reason for the action.

When contacted, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary (Organisation) Ranjan Bora said the disciplinary action was taken against the legislator for her "anti-party activities over the last few days".

Sources in the Congress and the BJP told PTI that Neog, a powerful leader in Upper Assam, is likely to join the saffron camp on December 26 or 27 during the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the state.

On Thursday, Neog held a closed-door meeting with Sonowal at his official residence in presence of Sarma.

The Congress legislator, however, said she had met the chief minister and the senior BJP leader to discuss issues related to her constituency.

Speculations are rife that Neog, who was a close confidante of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and part of his cabinet, may join the saffron party after some irregularities were reported in the departments she had held.

Along with her, around 100 Congress workers, including several block presidents of Golaghat constituency, are also likely to cross over to the BJP, the sources said.

Another Congress legislator Roseline Tirkey from Sarupathar in Golaghat had gone to a local office of the ruling party in the district in presence of Irrigation Minister Bhabesh Kalita earlier this week, triggering speculations that the MLA might join the BJP.

Lakhipur MLA Rajdeep Goala, who was expelled from the Congress for six years in October this year for his alleged "anti-party activities", is also expected to join the saffron camp, sources said.

Elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly is due in March-April next year.

The 2016 Assembly polls gave a fractured mandate and no party has an absolute majority.

In the current House, the BJP is the single largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People's Front (BPF) have 14 and 12 lawmakers respectively. The ruling coalition has the support of an Independent MLA.

The Congress has 22 MLAs at present, while the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has 14 members in the House.